Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Soup it UP: Beans Optional

When you have a recipe that works, you just go with it, right?  Why try something new if the old standby is great?  I felt that way about my Minestrone Soup recipe.  It worked, I liked it, why try a new one?  This new one used a crockpot!  Ok ok, how hard is it to simmer soup on the stove?  About as tough as simmering it in the crock pot.  One thing I have noticed about my recipe is that it needs a day to sit and meld after you cook it, then it tastes even better.  The crockpot's slow cook method, helps greatly with the melding process.
The recipe has two parts, one that cooks in the crock pot all day and one that you add a little while before you serve it.  Sure it's prep, but it makes for a quick dinner.  I'm not sure about you, but when I get home from work, I just want to eat not prep things for dinner.  After dinner I'll do all sorts of prep for the next day, but when I get home?  No thanks.  This is why Crockpot cooking works for me.
Hope you like this one - you can go crazy with beans if you like them or ditch the beans.  I'm not a bean lover but Andy is.  I ate some of the beans, but drew my line in the sand at one point.

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups potatoes, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
1 white onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable stock ( I prefer low sodium broth)
2 cups water
3 cups V8 ( or tomato juice)
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups zucchini, diced
1  cups tubular (ditalini) pasta
1 can (15 oz) green beans, drained

Directions:
Place your diced tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery, white onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaves into your crockpot.

Add in vegetable stock, water, and V8. Cover and cook on LOW for  6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on HIGH.

After cooking time is up, add in red kidney beans, cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans and pasta , and cook on high heat for an additional 10-15 minutes until pasta is tender.


Serve with your favorite crackers, salad or warm bread!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner - in one loaf of meat...

By now you know our household is on a baking boycott.  Well... in a manner of speaking.  So while it's true that not as many sweets come in or go out of our house, our oven is still being used quite a bit.  It's called cooking.  Whoa?!  What a concept.
This attempt, a turkey meat loaf.  Sounds weird right?  But what was this turkey mixed with?  A box of stuffing mix.  How bad can that be? Right?   We are going to forgive the photographer on this one.  We'll just say that maybe she got a new camera and maybe the focus was set to a tiny area in the upper left corner... let's say it was set like that for a while and I, I mean she couldn't for the life of her figure out why most everything was blurry.... well... there you go.
This meat loaf took forever in the oven - but tasted great.  I'd make it again - for sure. Just give it lots of time in the oven and be sure to use a meat thermometer to know when it's done - it's poultry after all.  No sense getting sick trying make good food.

Stuffing Mix Meatloaf
1 Pound Ground Meat (Beef or Turkey)
1 Egg
1 Box Stuffing Mix
1 Cup Water

Mix everything together, smoosh it into a loaf pan, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Flying Cupcakes of Love

How embarrassing that it's taken me this long to get pictures of Xander and Anika's birthday cupcakes up.  Just shows you... how behind I am?  Hrm... thought that was going somewhere else...  Anyway....
How on earth are these two 6 and 4?  When did that happen?  A bit before their birthdays' I asked their mom what they might want for a cake/cupcakes.  I try to do something different for them since while their birthdays are a week apart, they are two separate events.  Xander wanted planes - Anika wanted helicopters.  I had a grand ol' plan for Anika and her helicopters... well, after piping Xander's planes, it seemed like a good fit to do hers the same way.
The kids liked them, only one person told me I should have made Anika's pink or purple, it was for a girl after all.  well... she liked them that's all that counts.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher Magazine

Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher Magazine is a new publication for all things punch and primitive.  We were asked to design a piece for the premier issue – this is it.  Heart at Home combines Primitive and Punch together.
Want a copy?  Contact your local needlework store or sign up for a subscription at http://pnpsmagazine.com/
Check out the Christmas issue – we should have another design ready to show off.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cute Girl Loves her Daddy's Soup

Panera makes a good Cream of Chicken Wild Rice Soup, but do you know who makes an even better one?  Andy.  Do you find that food other people make tastes better than if you make it?
I was having a rough week early in my maternity leave, felt cooped up and needed an escape.  Saturday afternoon Andy stayed home with the kids so I could go to Home Depot and drool over the spring plants, do some returns and get groceries.  It's an amazing feeling of freedom to get out of your house without anyone hanging on you, asking to go potty, needing a bottle or a diaper change.
While I was out - Andy made soup.  He had made it early for lunch the following day for after church, but it smelled so amazing we decided to eat it for dinner when I got home.  Bronwyn loved it also - it had rice and chicken, veggies too!  Let's not talk about the sticks (yes plural) of butter.  This is not a low cal dish.  And this is why the left overs sit in our freezer awaiting a day when we need some comfort soup.

Copy-Cat Panera Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

6  cups chicken broth
2  chicken breast halves (cooked, boneless and cubed)
1 (6 ounce) package long grain and wild rice blend, quick cooking version (You will use the seasoning packet.)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup butter (12 tbsp. or a stick and a half)
1  cup carrot, diced
1  cup celery, diced
1  cup onion, diced
3  cups light cream (can lighten by substituting part or all of the cream with fat-free evaporated milk, or half-and-half)

Directions
Open rice, pull out seasoning packet and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pepper and flour. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth and chicken. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice. Cover and remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in contents of seasoning packet, and continue cooking vegetables until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add seasoned flour gradually while constantly stirring, to form a roux. Saute roux for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour taste.
Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through and rice is done, 15-20 minutes.


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